Kimball Junction Business Association eyes another year of growth
Leah Kolb, president of the Kimball Junction Business Association, started 2015 with a simple goal, but it was one, she knew, that wouldn’t be easy to accomplish.
At that time, the association had only about 20 members. With about 250 businesses in Kimball Junction, it was crucial for the organization to grow in order to become a significant part of the community.
"That’s the most challenging, yet exciting, part of it," said Kolb, who is also the corporate sales and events manager at Newpark Resort. "I’m pushing myself to increase the membership. And we’ve got a great board that has been super helpful and involved. It’s just been fun to learn and get to know a lot of other people who work in the area."
That mission is far from over, but 2015 proved to be a great first step, Kolb said.
"We actually more than doubled in size for our membership," she said. "As of right now, we’re at about 46 members, so we’ve surpassed our goal of wanting to double."
One of the reasons Kolb and the rest of the association’s leadership team is so diligent in expanding is they believe the organization fills an important role. It helps businesses network with one another and form a camaraderie that can benefit all involved. Additionally, it educates members on the important issues within Park City and Summit County that will affect them. And more membership means it can wield a bigger influence.
"We want to listen to the issues that members might have, whether it be transportation or signage or whatever, then be able to have a unified voice," Kolb said. "And that voice is stronger when we have more participants."
Kimball Junction has been growing rapidly for years. And Kolb said it has now become its own destination, another distinct reason for visitors to come to the Park City area. The number of businesses and their diversity, from the Tanger Outlets to J.W. Allen and Sons Toys and Candy, has made it an increasingly popular place for people from out of town to shop. And the growth of the population in the Snyderville Basin has turned it into a hub for locals, as well.
"People can come and stay in this area and go to restaurants, shop, recreate and get entertainment," said Kolb, whose two-year term as president runs through 2016. "While I think most people who do come out here also go to Main Street, and we want them to keep doing that, I think they’re finding that there are a lot of offerings here, too."
But the growth of Kimball Junction also brings challenges. The association often grapples with how to properly represent such a large footprint. Kolb said the goal is to be an equally valuable resource for a restaurant on the west side of S.R. 224 as it is for a clothing shop in Redstone.
"(The association) covers the Tanger Outlets all the way to Swaner (EcoCenter), then goes south of (Interstate) 80, all the way to Bear Hollow," she said. "So we have a big territory and a lot of different developers and land owners. Bringing all of those groups together can be challenging. It’s sometimes tough to find issues that do impact everybody and not just one specific location within the boundaries."
Transportation is a related issue. Since Kimball Junction comprises such a large area, visitors might have to drive short distances to get to all the stores they want to visit. Kolb said the association is working with Summit County to find a solution.
"We want people to be able to come down here, park and not have to get back in the car until they’ve completed all of their shopping," she said. "I think as the population grows, that will be absolutely needed because the goal is to get cars off the road and people into stores."
Kolb hopes to dig further into those matters in 2016. In addition, she is setting a familiar objective for the year.
"My goal," she said, "would be to double the number of memberships again for 2016."
For more information on the association, or to get involved, visit kimballjunction.org.
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